Sonic Youth: Documentary and Dirty notes

Crept downstairs last night during an extended break from jurisprudence to watch 4Music’s Pioneers feature on Sonic Youth, which reassured me that my marked inability to evoke the sheer joy this band’s music gives me in any sort of articulate way is shared by lots of other people, including the band themselves (although we didn’t even hear from Kim and Steve at all, boo, C4). There was Butch Vig using the tired old (but still frustratingly spot-on IMO) “glorious noise”, Brian Molko talking about getting chucked into volcanos and swimming around in magma (also quite apt, really), and Sonic Youth themselves (grovel, worship) sounding very art-rock and cliched and saying how everything is about the music, blah blah blah.

But be not deceived by this flippance. Truth be told, I sat in front of the TV for those precious 20 minutes like a 14 year old girl watching a Westlife porn video.

I was then, unfortunately, forced to stay downstairs trying to wolf the rest of my supper down while David Gray sang what felt like the same song for half an hour, after which I staggered back up to my room and put Dirty on very loud, because I was in the mood for it (yes, I know it’s supposed to be the sell-out album and lots of people hate it but I like it anyway), and here are random notes:

Does anyone else find the riffing in Drunken Butterfly incredibly seductive?

I think the best part of this album for me is the three song sequence in the middle. Sugar Kane initially sounds like another one of those exceptionally accessible Thurston-vocal SY songs like Teenage Riot and Sunday , but the minute you hear that intro you just know this song isn’t just going to be about catchiness, and that they’re not going to be able to resist some sort of descent into chaos later in the song. You can’t wait, but you also sense some return to order will follow, this is a song they’ll taper to a close. They do…and then they launch into the rollicking riot of dissonance and attitudinal Kim that is Orange Rolls, Angel’s Spit. And after this you get Youth Against Fascism, which is one of those songs which SY detractors probably jeer at as aging rockers’ attempting to keep in touch with the Ghostworld crowd, but which to me feels exuberant and brash and something I could mosh to without getting killed, and hey, sometimes that’s all I’m asking for. No one ever said they were political philosophers, after all, and yeah the president sucks/he’s a war pig fuck is fun to yell.